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Wednesday, fourth week of Advent, 2010, O King of the Gentiles

December 22, 2010

Blessed Wednesday!

O King of the Gentiles
And their desired One
Cornerstone who binds two into one
Come and save man
Whom You fashioned from the dust of the earth

Isaiah 2:4:
And he shall judge the Gentiles,
and rebuke many people
(see also Psalm 2:7-8, 47:8-18, Isaiah 45:22, Acts 17:27, Ephesians 2:11-14, 20-21, Genesis 2:7)

Symbol: crown, scepter, cornerstone
Suggested foods: crown cake, crown roast, turkey a la king, crown-shaped cookie or rice crispie treat, loaf-shaped food (bread, meatloaf, pound cake, banana bread, etc.) to represent cornerstone, Burger King
Suggested activities: pray for the Gentiles (everyone who’s not Jewish!); make clay figures; build something (with legos, blocks, etc.) using a “cornerstone”; look for the cornerstone on a building; do a project in which you fasten things together (binding two into one); coloring page

God our Father,
You sent Your Son to free mankind from the power of death.
May we who celebrate the coming of Christ as Man
share more fully in His divine life,
for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Readings:
I Samuel 1:24-28 (as soon as she’s weaned him,
Hannah brings Samuel to the temple to give him to God)
I Samuel 2:1, 4-8 (Hannah’s song) “My heart rejoices in the Lord, my Savior”
+ Luke 1:46-56 (Mary’s Magnificat)

God lifts up the ones who give the praise to Him.

Today the liturgy presents to us a “type” or foreshadowing, from the Old Testament
and its fulfillment in the New.

Hannah was barren.
Her husband’s second, fertile wife never let her live that down,
and in her grief at this constant condemnation Hannah pleaded so fervently with the Lord
that the priest thought she was drunk.
Now, at last, she’s been vindicated!
The Almighty has opened her womb and given her a son!
As she’d promised, once he was weaned, she brought little Samuel to the temple…
and left him there.
Her burden of failure lifted at last, she burst into praise.

My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in the Lord.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory
-I Samuel 2:1

Hannah knew full well that she personally had nothing to boast of.
Infertility had taught her the painful lesson
that she simply could not bear a son by her own power.
Her victory came solely from the Lord.
However, it was a victory, a stunning victory, and she was going to rejoice!
But she gave credit where credit was due…

Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord
-I Corinthians 1:31

God can bless that.
He went on to give Hannah three more sons and two daughters,
and to make of her son, Samuel, a mighty prophet, Israel’s last judge,
the one who established the royal house of David.
Truly, Hannah’s horn was exalted. She was blessed.
Nobody even knows what became of her rival’s children.

Fast-forward about a thousand years.

Another lowly woman, daughter of the royal house of David,
has most unexpectedly conceived.
She, too, knows full well how powerless she is–and how powerful God is!
When Elizabeth blesses her, Mary, too rejoices in the Lord with a variation of Hannah’s song.

My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit finds joy in God my Savior
for He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness;
all ages to come shall call me blessed
-Luke 1:46-48

Mary, too, was blessed. It’s only natural that we should call her that!
What we’re really doing is giving praise to the God Who blessed her!
Her very being gives praise to God.

That’s our calling too.
We have been blessed.
The mighty Lord of Hosts has loved us into being.
Those of us who have received the sacraments have been blessed even more,
reborn as royal sons and daughters, forgiven, purified, fortified, nourished, cherished.

Who’s getting the praise for that?
In what–or Whom–do we boast?

Hannah and the Blessed Virgin Mary have modeled the only response that satisfies the soul.
May we, too, exult in the Lord, proclaim His greatness with our very being,
and find joy in Him.
That’s the kind of life God can bless.

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